Commission of inquiry into state capture applies for another extension
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The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture will be applying to the high court for another extension, commission chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo announced on Thursday.
It will request an extension until the end of September to complete its work and provide a report.
Justice Zondo said the commission identified five or six more witnesses that need to be called to give oral evidence. He said the witnesses informed the commission that they were not available to appear in June and, therefore, their evidence needed to be heard in July.
In addition, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appearance would be pushed further as “it is only proper that the president is the last witness to give evidence”.
Ramaphosa was due to appear on June 29 and 30, in his capacity as leader of the nation.
“If the extension is granted, we will be able to hear evidence of the five or six witnesses and the president of the country by no later than 15 July,” Justice Zondo said.
The commission had applied for an extension in March, to the end of June.
“When the commission applied for an extension from the end of March to June, I made an assessment that oral evidence would conclude by end of March and April, May and June would be used to prepare the report.
“As it turns out, we didn’t complete the oral evidence by the end of March,” he said.
Justice Zondo said that was due to accommodating witnesses and lawyers but also because “as one proceeds, one becomes aware of matters one did not know about”.
He said the evidence heard since March was “very important” as it included former senior executives of state-owned enterprises, Parliament oversight, the ANC, former public enterprises minister Malusi Gigaba and serious allegations of looting of public funds in the State Security Agency.
Justice Zondo said that if all oral evidence was completed by July 15, the preparation of the commission’s report should be complete by the end of August. “But, I would like September just in case.’’
He addressed those calling for the commission to make haste in completing its work.
“I know that some within the public have grown very impatient with the commission to complete its work. Some do so in good faith but other do so for their own reasons.
“I will not end the work of the commission in an irresponsible manner just to satisfy those who want the commission to conclude its work.
“I have a responsibility to to make sure that the work of the commission is done properly and there is fairness to those implicated. We must be able to able to look back and say we acted responsibly.”
He made the announcement shortly before former Transnet chief financial officer Anoj Singh took the stand.
The inquiry continues.